There’s no absolute need to have a cold Christmas ham on a welcome table, but there are few sights more seasonally cheering. I like to have some of the sweet, salty pink meat carved, and some still clove-studded and gorgeously whole, as a joint, on a wooden board. Obviously, it is fabulous hot, too.
If you feel like adding the Christmas Chutney, by all means do (see p.235); I would. Though any number of other condiments in that chapter might also be a good match. Shop-bought
mango chutney is certainly not infra dig – or not in my house – and I definitely need English mustard with this. Those who like it less hot could turn to the Redcurrant and Wholegrain Mustard Sauce (a quick stir-up, no cooking) on p.67, perhaps using cranberry jelly (if already using in the glaze) in place of the redcurrant.
Put all the ingredients, except those for the glaze, into a large pan, on the stove but off the heat, adding water until the ham is covered.
Turn on the heat and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and partially cover the pan. Cook for about 31/2 hours. (This may not seem long for a big joint, but as it will carry on
Cooking as it cools, and this is going to be eaten cold, I don’t want it overcooked. Nor do you.)
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Lift the ham gently out of the hot liquid, sit it on a board and let it cool slightly, not too much but just so that you can touch it without burning yourself.
With a sharp knife, strip off the rind, and a little of the fat layer if it’s very thick, but leave a thin layer of fat. I love this work: it is peculiarly gratifying seeing the hot blubbery fat slither off. Use the same knife to score a diamond pattern in the remaining fat on the ham, in lines about 2cm apart. Stud the points of each diamond with a clove.
Put the cranberry or redcurrant jelly, cinnamon, paprika and red wine vinegar into a little saucepan and whisk together over a high heat, bringing it to the boil. Let the pan bubble away, for about 5 minutes, so that the glaze reduces to a syrupy consistency that will coat the fat on the ham.
Now sit the ham in a roasting tin lined with foil, as the sugar in the glaze will burn in the oven as it drips off. Pour the glaze over the diamond-studded ham, then put it in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the glazed fat has caught and burnished. Take the ham out of the oven and sit it on a wooden board to cool (2–3 hours) before you carve it.
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